ODOT completes Latest Safety and
Congestion Improvements on I-71
Part of decade-long $800 million investment strategy into key Ohio freight corridor
ASHLAND (Wednesday, August 4, 2010) - With a formal ribbon cutting ceremony along the highway in Medina County, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has completed its latest and one of its largest investments to improve Interstate 71.
“As one of the state’s most-used freight corridor in terms of volume, tonnage, and vehicle miles traveled, I-71 has been a focal point for ODOT, with more than $800 million in improvements and upgrades over the past decade,” said ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris, who noted that I-70, I-75, I-71 make up the state’s three largest freight corridors.
U.S. Congressman John Boccieri and other state and local officials joined ODOT to recognize the completion of the $77.3 million widening of I-71 at the Interstate 76/U.S. Route 224 interchange in Medina County.
This recently-completed project is among the more than $868 million in improvements ODOT has made along the I-71 corridor since 2000, with 136 different projects stretching from Cleveland through Columbus and into Cincinnati.
Over the next four years, ODOT has scheduled another 43 projects – investing an additional $678 million – including replacement of the Jeremiah Morrow Bridges just north of Cincinnati and a major upgrade of the I-71/I-70/I-670 interchange in downtown Columbus.
This project in Medina County, constructed by the Ruhlin Company of Sharon Center, is the final I-71 widening project in ODOT District 3 and completes a process begun in 2000 when a section of I-71 was widened near Cuyahoga County.
“Adding capacity to I-71 is one way to improve safety and decrease congestion, but this project means so much more than that to the region,” said District 3 Deputy Director John Hart. “The construction of new ramps and modifications at existing ramps has removed the dangerous weave pattern that previously existed for trucks and motorists driving through this interchange.”
In addition to widening I-71 by adding a third lane in each direction, this project has improved safety with the construction of new or modified ramps at the I-76/U.S. 224 interchange. These additions have improved safety and mobility at the interchange for motorists using it to reach Akron, Cleveland, and Columbus.
“Prior to construction, motorists encountered dangerous weaves, merges, and bottlenecks,” added Hart. “The new interchange provides for smooth flowing ramps in every direction without conflict.”
This interchange and the I-76 corridor is important to the region for economic development and is among the reasons a portion of I-76 between this project and State Route 57 was recently selected for a $14.8 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) project currently under construction.
For more information contact: Scott Varner, ODOT Central Office Communications, at 614-644-8640
or the ODOT District 3 Public Information Office at (419) 207-7182 or email D03.PIO@dot.state.oh.us